Data science is the way forward, especially as the Internet of Things really takes hold in society. There is so much data out there that we don’t have an effective means to really take advantage of it all. If we could diagnose new diseases, come up with new treatment plans, plan better cities, advance technology, and perfect business management. There are so many possibilities when the data of billions of people are used and analyzed.
Though this sort of future is very far ahead (data would have to be able to be mass anonymized securely first, even before access could be considered), using data to improve individual businesses is very much possible.
Large enterprise-sized businesses have more data than they know what to do with and it is the job of a data analyst to sort, extract, and make informed decisions based on the data presented.
Data science is a huge career, so if you are interested in specializing, look no further.
Everything You Need to Know About Data Science as a Career
Data science might be relatively new as a career field, but it has a lot going for it.
It is lucrative
Data scientists, engineers, analysts, and everyone in-between make very good incomes for their efforts, with even the lower tier of wages far higher than the national average.
It is fulfilling
In 2018, Glassdoor conducted a poll and Data Scientist came out as the #1 job for its career progression, job satisfaction, and wage.
It is growing
You don’t want to be stuck in a dead-end job that has no upwards progression. The industry for data scientists is growing, meaning there are more roles than qualified professionals. This will enable you to advance your career instead of getting stuck in the middle-ground.
Some Top Roles in Data Science
There are many roles that involve data science, some of the top ones include:
Data analysts are often the entry-level role for people hoping to become data scientists. In this role you will be looking at the data a business has. Then you will analyze it, and extract meaning from it. They will need to know how to collect, clean, and categorize data to understand it and visualize it for their employer.
Data scientists are the upper positions, and though they will do many of the same steps as data analysts, they will also work directly with the software and SQL databases themselves. They may need to create programs to extract data from older programs or maintain or troubleshoot their own programs.
They often understand and can apply machine learning methods; they know how to create statistical models to extrapolate from existing data, and are often proficient in one or more programming languages.
Data engineers don’t analyze data, but they do build and maintain the tools necessary to analyze the data. Data Scientists are the middle ground between engineers and analysts. So, where they will also deal with the data they collect, engineers focus entirely on the database creation and management. They will have advanced programming knowledge and SQL database knowledge.
How Can You Start Your Career in Data Science?
There are many ways that you can start a career in data science, especially if you already have a background in computer science or programing.
1. Learn or Improve Your Skill in a Computing Language
If it has been some time since you touched on computer programming languages, it’s time to dive back into them. If you already know one, perhaps it is time to learn another one.
2. Become Familiar with SQL
Something that will probably be unfamiliar to you are SQL databases. Have a look at them, understand them, and even try them out if you can. Chances are you should learn about these in any formal course you take in data science, so doing this yourself isn’t quite so essential if you plan on completing an MSc.
3. Take a Foundational Degree or Courses
If your background doesn’t entirely match up with the requirements a university is looking for, applicants can often take foundational courses instead, sometimes even within the same degree.
If you don’t have a computer science background, then a foundation degree in the subject is recommended.
4. Specialize with an MSc
Data science is something you tend to specialize in higher education. You need a lot of foundation and cannot easily jump right into it. You need to know programming, mathematics, and even statistics. Only when you have that background can you then look forward to being accepted at the top Data Science Masters programs.
What to Look for in a Data Science MSc
A Data Science MSc will teach you the techniques, algorithms, and methods to collect, analyze, and present big data. You will use multiple disciplines and learn advanced data mining, machine learning, and visualization techniques in this course.
Data science is one of the most important, fastest growing fields out there, and it is one of the most important for businesses and society as a whole. You will have your pick when it comes to jobs, but you need to make sure the degree you choose is from a top institution, and offers a great grounding in all the essentials skills you will need.
How to Start Your Career in Data Science
Data scientists take the #1 stop for jobs in the US and the job roles are exponential, with more listings than qualified professionals. This makes it much easier to secure a job at a great company, though there are other options when it comes to starting your career. You could also start by shadowing or interning. You could go freelance to build your resume up and be your own boss, or you could apply internally to work in a different role at your current employer.
Your job as a data scientist awaits you and getting in early will mean that you can further your career and become an industry leader by the time the job market catches up. Our entire society is built on data, so it is about time we started to learn how to use it.